Running the Race With One Another
Reflecting on last Sunday's sermon, Ps Thian Chye suggests five practical ways we can help one another in running and finishing the spiritual race well.
As I was pondering on the sermon preached by Ps Eugene last Sunday on running the race, I began to recall my training days when I was serving as a national serviceman. I remembered those tough training sessions. There were two similar analogies that I could relate to in the sermon:
Endurance Races: Running Alongside One Another
During the 9 months of intensive training, there were many runs being conducted under tough terrains and difficult conditions. These were endurance races that I needed to complete in order to pass out of the course as a commissioned officer. While I was running along the way, I met fellow trainees who were struggling to complete the run. Some were taking a break as they lacked the stamina to continue. Others were injured and looking for help and sadly, some gave up running as they could not endure any longer to complete the race. On the contrary, there were runners, who were stronger, did take time to help the weak by running alongside them, constantly and patiently encouraging them to look forward to completing the race.
What should our attitude be in running this spiritual race that God has set before us? Are we left to run this race alone or do we run and constantly look out for the weak who may be struggling in their race? We ought to help out one another, members of Grace Baptist Church, in this journey of faith. When we run this race, we will meet people who lack the endurance to press on, others may be hurt by fellow members, or perhaps like my training days, we need others to run alongside us, encouraging and supporting us in finishing the race.
Last Sunday, during our Quarterly Congregational Meeting (QCM), we entered into a covenant with one another, to do the one anothering. May I suggest three practical ways how we can live out that covenant by helping one another in running the race, so that by God’s grace, all may cross the finishing line and be found faithful:
- Look out for members whom you know who are not present in church gatherings like worship service, prayer meetings and QCM. Reach out to them and offer to walk alongside them in their struggle. For members who are unable to be in person due to health issues, reach out to them to express your care and concern in words and deeds such as visitation whenever it is possible and do remember them in your prayers.
- Write notes of encouragement to those who are serving among us or those who have blessed you by their labour of love such as our Care Group Leaders, Deacons, Ministry Staff, Children Ministry teachers and helpers and many others. Special mention to the AV team for their tireless work behind the scenes at every worship service and the teams that help set up the Equip sessions and the regular corporate gatherings. These are examples of faithful servants of God who may be discouraged, tired and worn out and they do need our encouragement for them to endure and press on.
- Connect with a family with young children, young couples, seniors or any members, to check in how they are doing in their spiritual life, their needs, and how you can minister to them and be praying for them.
2.4km Run: Laying Aside the Weight
Another form of training back in those days, we were trained to run 2.4km with a backpack that weighed about 20kg. After some months of training, we were put to the test to run the same distance but without the 20kg weight attached to our body. The result after completing that run was beyond my expectation which shows that the weight hindered our run. This is similar to what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:1,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
As Eugene has rightly pointed out, these “weight” may not be sins in itself but they may hinder us in running the race. Not only does it slow us down or burden us, such weights may turn into sin if we continue to let it cling to us closely. May I suggest two ways where we can help one another to lay aside those weights which hinder us from running the race:
- Be open to share your struggles with a member whom you can be accountable to in your life. Be intentional to call out sin and expose the “weight” that clings so tightly to you that hinders you from running the race.
- Approach members who seem to be struggling, walk alongside them in a gentle and patient manner, speaking God’s Word to them in love and pointing them to Jesus.
As Christians, we are to run the race that is set before us with fellow members in different seasons of life. It is a difficult race and there will be many distractions and temptations along the way. Some may be tempted to give up or stop running for various reasons. Take heart, beloved, we do not need to run the race alone, we have one another and help is available in this body of Christ, Grace Baptist Church. Let us help one another to get rid of every weight and sin which clings to us so closely, and together as a church, we run the race with endurance while fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith!
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